Stockholm Fashion Week – Day 1

Stockholm Fashion Week kicked off in my old hometown yesterday and in between working and looking after two sick children I have been watching the live stream from the shows. Clean lines and a monochrome colour scheme dominated the catwalks and while some may deem the lack of colour and flamboyance boring, I think the muted palette makes the clothes infinitely more wearable. As most of you probably know by now, I love the Scandinavian design aesthetic both when it comes to fashion and interior. A peek into my wardrobe would reveal that, if my budget allowed it, most of these creations could hang there quite comfortably. And it was not ALL black, white and grey – there were flashes of yellow at Carine Wester and a pretty combo of pastel pink and leopard print at Ida Sjöstedt .

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Whyred

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Whyred

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Carin Wester

Carin Wester

Carin Wester

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Stylein

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Stylein

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Ida Sjöstedt

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Ida Sjöstedt

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Ida Sjöstedt

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Filippa K

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Filippa K

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Five on Friday

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{A takeaway latte and almond croissant to start off yet another grey January morning. No New Year health kick for me although I have been to the gym twice this week so I refuse to feel guilty about the little treats}

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{These lovely colourful bulbs outside our local florist were a timely reminder that spring IS on its way. If our house wasn’t a building site I would have bought some to brighten up the place}

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{I’m enjoying trying out all the beauty products from my Liberty London advent calendar. So far my favourites are the Kiehls body lotion, the Laura Mercier lipgloss and the Dr Sebagh repair serum}

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{I don’t mind the cold as much as the rain and this week we have had some lovely crisp sunny days. I snapped this picture on a late afternoon walk}

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{My husband and I are going away for the weekend to Amsterdam at the start of next month. It will be the first time that we are both away from the children for more than one night but I am confident that they will have a great time with their grandparents. Lots of shopping, sightseeing and dinners/cocktails à deux are on the agenda}

Hope you all have a great weekend! X

 

Interior Inspiration: Mood Boards

Living room mood board 3

Tray table from Hay/Blanket by Pia Wallen/Cushions by Chhatwal & Jonsson/Sofa from Ikea/ Lamp by Sebastian Wrong for Flos

Kitchen mood board 2

Lamp by Philippe Starck for Flos/Bar stool by Hay/Sideboard from Ikea/Tulip table from Vertigo Interiors/Arne Jacobsen Seven chair

Just before Christmas, work started on an extension to our house that will eventually result in a new kitchen and playroom/family room. After two years of talking about it and another six months of getting the plans drawn up and finalised, it’s incredibly exciting to see it all come together.

This week we have just embarked on the difficult stage of  the building work where we lose our kitchen and are all confined to one room downstairs with only a microwave for cooking. The children are super excited at the thought of eating ready meals and takeaways every night for three or four weeks – me, less so. At least it means that the end is in sight and in a matter of weeks we will have a brand new kitchen without baseboards that fall off every time you go near them. And an extractor fan that works and a kitchen sink that doesn’t leak! This ‘compact living’ is also a great reminder that we don’t actually need a lot of the stuff we have accumulated over the years. While emptying out the kitchen at the weekend we discovered two or more of several things (including six biscuits tins – none of them containing biscuits!) as well as kitchen equipment that we rarely or never use.

As part of the new extension we are making the playroom/family room slightly bigger and linking it with the kitchen. Now that the boys are bigger most of their toys reside in their bedrooms but Clemmie’s room is tiny and she still prefers to play near me downstairs. We won’t be buying loads of furniture but a new sofa is definitely on the list as well as some nice cushions and lamps – at the moment we have no lamps downstairs apart from the ceiling spotlights! We already have a cupboard similar to that in the picture and I plan to replace the glass doors with chicken wire to make it suitable for storing toys in.

The kitchen we have chosen is white with built-in handles and light grey worktops. It will be lovely to have lots of storage space and a kitchen island where the kids can eat breakfast and do their homework. I doubt it will stay as clutter free as the pictures for long though!

Hope you’ve all had a good start to the week. I’m determined to get back to regular blogging so look out for more posts this week. X

The Beauty Edit: Wave Goodbye to Chapped Hands

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{The Laura Mercier La Petite Patisserie Hand Crème Quartet comes in a long tube – just the right size to fit in a Christmas stocking!}

One of my favourite stocking fillers this Christmas (thank you Santa!) was Laura Mercier’s La Petite Patisserie Hand Crème Quartet. I have dry skin anyway and my hands always look terrible in the winter – chapped and scaly with a texture like sandpaper. The only thing that keeps the dryness at bay is religiously applying cream every time my hands have been in water, but it is so easy to forget. This pack of four 1 oz. tubes of luxurious handcream means that I can keep one in the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and my handbag. With four delicious fragrances – Almond Coconut Milk, Crème Brulée, Crème de Pistache and Fresh Fig – an added bonus is that your hands are not only velvety soft but also smell good enough to eat. In fact, when I was putting my son to bed last night after applying the Crème Brulée hand cream he said ‘Mummy your hands smell like sweeties!’ High praise indeed!

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{In this picture you can see another Christmas present: my new favorite nail polish, Essie’s Good as Gold}

My New Year’s Resolutions

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According to Wikipedia:  A New Year’s resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere  but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people beginning from New Year’s Day.

 

Love them or loathe them, New Year’s resolutions are part and parcel of the month of January. We’re only three days in and already I have read umpteen blog posts on the topic so I thought I would throw my two pennies worth in as well. Looking back on my resolutions from last year I’m pleased to see that they were suitably vague as to allow me to claim some modicum of success for most of them. I did manage to go to the gym with some sort of regularity, even if it was just once or twice a week. There can never be enough one-to-one time with the children but at least I made it one of my top priorities in the last 12 months and will continue to do so in 2015. The big clear out of clutter is on-going but some proper headway has been made since this time last year and all the baby paraphernalia is now gone. I haven’t added up and compared my spending in 2014 to the previous year, but I think that at the very least I became more mindful about what I spent my cash on, resulting in fewer mistake buys. The smoothie-making fell by the wayside before January 2014 drew to a close but, as my last resolution was to be kinder to myself, I will let that one go without too much admonishment.

So, what about this year? As the 12 months of 2015 stretch before us like unwritten pages, I am somewhat at a loss to come up with things that I want to achieve this year. Like most people I want to be happy and healthy and I wish the same for my family but that’s hardly going to set me off on some great path to self improvement. However, I do want to work on being able to let things go more easily and not obsess over what other people have said or done or worry so much about how they may have interpreted things that I have said or done.

A year ago I was less than one month into a new job that involved writing about an industry that was completely new to me, and one thing that I have realised over the past 12 months is that I love to learn and to challenge myself. As much as I love being a mum, now that the children are all at full time school, having a job that I enjoy has given me a renewed sense of purpose and helped me carve out an identity apart from that of ‘wife and mother’. So I guess one of my resolutions is to carry on learning and get better at my job while still striving to have a healthy work/family balance.

Lately I’ve been craving a more minimalist lifestyle and by that I don’t mean painting my walls white and wearing sharply cut Helmut Lang but rather a change in attitude towards valuing experiences over material possessions. Having too much stuff can weigh us down emotionally plus trying to keep on top of the clutter takes time away from doing other more enjoyable things. Over the past couple of months I have been purging my wardrobe of things I no longer wear and while I am still some way off having a capsule wardrobe, it has made an enormous difference.

On a more frivolous note I could do with stepping up my grooming regime a notch – there comes a time when the unkempt look is just unkempt, rather than channeling Kate Moss at Glastonbury. Let this be the year that I take my nail polish off as soon as it starts to chip rather than leaving it for another five days, pluck my brows every week, invest in an eyelash curler and wear jewellery (other than my wedding rings) and matching underwear every day.

New Year’s resolutions are obviously not my forte; it took me about an hour to come up with that rather meager list. So, do tell, what are your resolutions for 2015?

P.S. Just as I was about to press Publish I came across this New Year’s resolutions questionnaire here so I thought I would add my answers to this post:

A bad habit I’m going to break: Worrying too much

A destination I’d like to visit: California

I’m going to work harder at: Not stressing when we’re getting ready to leave for school in the mornings

A project I’d like to finish: Our new kitchen extension

A class I’d like to take: Photography

I’d like to spend more time doing: Traveling

A food I want to eat more of: Leafy greens

I want to wear more: Jewellery

 

Christmas 2014

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas filled with joy, presents, food, friends and family. Was Santa generous this year?

Unfortunately I was hit by the flu virus at the start of the week and by Christmas Day was suffering from a terrible head cold & a temperature of 39C 😦 Not quite the Christmas I wanted, but I managed to struggle on and enjoyed a lovely lunch with the in-laws and LOTS of present opening before collapsing into bed at 6pm. I’m slowly on the mend now and enjoying a few lazy days at home with my family, including much Lego building, watching Christmas films and consoling Baby Annabel when she cries (no, not a new bundle of joy, just the very lifelike doll that Clemmie got For Christmas!)

Given that I wasn’t exactly feeling on top of the world, I didn’t manage to take that many pictures on Christmas Day but here are a few from the last week:

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{Baking gingerbread biscuits is a tradition in our household. I buy ready made dough from the Swedish shop so it is easy-peasy, just roll it out and let the children go wild with the cookie cutters}

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{Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a few board games. Our favourites are Monopoly (ideally the Junior version as it doesn’t go on for hours) and Cluedo}

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{All ready for Father Christmas. I bought new personalised Christmas stockings for the children this year as the old ones were in such as sorry state}

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{This beautiful dragonfly necklace by British jeweller Alex Monroe was hiding in my Christmas stocking. Santa has obviously been reading my blog!}

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{And finally, the children in all their finery before Christmas lunch with the in-laws}

Wishing you all a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! X

 

 

Five (or more!) on Friday

It’s that crazy busy time of year again as Christmas approaches at seemingly lightning speed. Only six days to go now folks! I am pleased to say that I have finished all my shopping, written all my Christmas cards and even started on the wrapping (unheard of until now as I can usually be found wrapping the last presents at 1am on Christmas Day!) It’s so easy to get carried away with the stress of it all but this year we decided to keep it fairly simple, limit the number of presents we give and just concentrate on enjoying having quality time together.

The only thing I still want to do is find the time to bake some traditional Swedish saffron buns and gingerbread biscuits with the children. I ordered some ready made gingerbread dough so hopefully it shouldn’t be too taxing. Today is the last day of school so we are planning a trip to the park this afternoon followed by pizza. A great way to start the holidays!

Here are a few pictures from the last week or so, via Instagram:

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{I went into town to finish off my Christmas shopping last week and started my three hour shopping session with a gingerbread latte and croissant at Starbucks}

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{A lovely night out with my very best friend from school who came over from Ireland to celebrate her birthday at Zuma in Knightsbridge. Lots of bubbly, yummy Japanese food and great company – life doesn’t get much better!}

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{The festive countdown continued with a Christmas concert at Casper’s Beaver Scout group where he played a wonderful piano solo…}

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{..and a very sweet Christmas show by Clemmie’s little ballet class}

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{The tree is finally up. I tried hard to curb my OCD tendencies this year and put the kids in charge of the decorations. OK, so maybe I moved one or two baubles but I think it turned out OK!}

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{The Christmas cards have all been written…}

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{..and the Swedish Christmas food order has arrived safely}

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{We even had time for a trip to the park last weekend to make the most of the dry weather.}

Hope you have a wonderful weekend whether you’re doing some last minute shopping, preparing for the Christmas feast or just putting your feet up and enjoying the festive mood! X

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Christmas time

If we overlook the tiny little fact that we don’t yet have a Christmas tree, our house is starting to look very festive indeed. The tree will definitely be purchased this weekend and then we can hopefully sit back and enjoy the seasonal cosiness. We’re having some major building work done at the moment and I’m very relieved that the builders told us this week that the kitchen will remain intact until the new year. Somehow, I did not relish the thought of attempting to cook Christmas dinner in the microwave!

Meanwhile, the schools have started the rather grueling countdown to the Christmas holidays. I know it’s all good fun and I’d hate to sound like the Grinch but at the moment emails are being fired at me left, right and centre about Christmas concerts, class parties, Christmas hat day, Christmas jumper day, Christmas mini market etc etc. To be honest, the children are all completely exhausted and as they don’t actually seem to be doing any work at the moment maybe the schools should consider breaking up this Friday rather than next…

At least my Christmas shopping is done now, after numerous Amazon orders and a four hour session in town today. All that remains is the wrapping and of course sending out the Christmas cards (I bought pre-printed ones this year to save time) and then I really will put my feet up and sip a glass or two of mulled wine.

How are your Christmas preparations going?

 

Five on Friday

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{Last Sunday was the First of Advent so we lit the first of our four Ikea candles. We’re slowly starting to put some Christmas decorations up but have yet to buy a tree..}

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{The best thing about winter: cosy evenings in front of the fire with a glass of red wine and a good movie.}

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{‘Tis the season of the nativity plays and this year I have three (!) to go to. The first one, by Clemmie’s class, was this week and it was very sweet. In case you’re wondering, she was one of six Inn Keepers!}

Beautiful Mess Planner

 

{One of my New Year’s resolutions for next year will definitely be to get organised and to this end I have purchased the brand new 2015 planner by A Beautiful Mess.}

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{The beauty goodies from the Liberty London Advent calendar have brightened up the grey mornings this week. So far I’ve uncovered an Aromatherapy cleanser, a Nail and Cuticle serum, a Nars blusher (my favourite item so far) and a £25 discount voucher to the hair salon run by celebrity hairdresser Josh Wood. Not bad and I still have 19 drawers to go!}

Hope you all have a great weekend! X